United Nations Economic and Social Council

United Nations International Court of Justice List of specialized agencies of the United Nations

United Nations Economic and Social Councilm. h.bb1
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
United Nations Economic and Social Council chamber New York City 2.JPG
United Nations Economic and Social Council chamber at United Nations headquarters
Formation1945; 75 years ago (1945)
TypePrincipal organ of the United Nations
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersNew York, United States
Munir Akram
Parent organization
United Nations
United Nations Economic and Social Council Membership.svg
  African States (14)

  Asia-Pacific States (11)

  Eastern European States (6)

  Latin American and Caribbean States (10)

  Western European and Other States (13)

A coloured voting box.svg Politics portal

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; French: Conseil économique et social des Nations unies, CESNU) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization, specifically in regards to the 15 specialised agencies, the eight functional commissions and the five regional commissions under its jurisdiction.

ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system.[1] In addition to a rotating membership of 54 UN member states, over 1,600 nongovernmental organizations have consultative status with the Council to participate in the work of the United Nations.[2]

ECOSOC holds one four-week session each year in July, and since 1998 has also held an annual meeting in April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Additionally, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which reviews implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are convened under the auspices of the Council every July.[3]


The president of the Council is elected for a one-year term and chosen from the small or medium sized states represented on the Council at the beginning of each new session.[4] The presidency rotates among the United Nations Regional Groups to ensure equal representation.[5]

Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan was elected as the seventy-sixth President of the Economic and Social Council on 23 July 2020,[6] succeeding Mona Juul of Norway.[7]


The Council consists of 54 Members States, which are elected yearly by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. Seats on the Council are allocated ensuring equitable geographic rotation among the United Nations regional groups, with 14 being allocated to the African Group, 11 to the Asia-Pacific Group, 6 to the Eastern European Group, 10 to the Latin American and Caribbean Group and 13 to the Western European and Others Group.[8][9]

Incoming Members

Term African States Asia-Pacific States Eastern European
Latin American &
Caribbean States
Western European &
Other States
1 January 2021 – 31 December 2023
 Solomon Islands
 Bulgaria  Argentina
 Bolivia (Plurinational
State of)

 United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Current Members

Term African States (14) Asia-Pacific States (11) Eastern European
Latin American &
Caribbean States
Western European &
Other States
1 January 2020 – 31 December 2022  Benin
Republic of Korea
 Russian Federation
1 January 2019 – 31 December 2021  Angola
 Iran (Islamic Republic of)
 Saudi Arabia
 United States of America
1 January 2018 – 31 December 2020  Ghana
 Belarus  Ecuador
 El Salvador
 Turkey /  Spain[a]

Observer Inter-Governmental Autonomous Organisations

Participation on a continuing basis:[11]

Participation on an ad hoc basis:[11]


Functional commissions


The following are the active functional commission of the Council:[12][13]


The following commissions were disbanded by the Council and replaced by other bodies:

Regional commissions

The following are the active regional commissions of the Council:[13]

Committees and other bodies

The following are some of the other bodies that the Council oversees in some capacity: [13]

Standing committees

Expert bodies

Other subsidiary bodies

Specialised agencies

The specialized agencies of the United Nations are autonomous organizations working within the United Nations System, meaning that while they report their activities to the Economic and Social Council, they are mostly free to their own devices. Each individual agency must negotiate with the Council as to what their relationship will look and work like. This leads to a system where different organizations maintain different types of relationships with the Council.[18][19] Some were created before the United Nations existed and were integrated into the system, others were created by the League of Nations and were integrated by its successor, while others were created by the United Nations itself to meet emerging needs.[citation needed]

The following is a list of the specialized agencies reporting to the Council:[20]

"World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation"

In a report issued in early July 2011, the UN called for spending nearly US$2 trillion on green technologies to prevent what it termed "a major planetary catastrophe", warning that "It is rapidly expanding energy use, mainly driven by fossil fuels, that explains why humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries through global warming, biodiversity loss, and disturbance of the nitrogen-cycle balance and other measures of the sustainability of the earth's ecosystem".[citation needed]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: "Rather than viewing growth and sustainability as competing goals on a collision course, we must see them as complementary and mutually supportive imperatives". The report concluded that "Business as usual is not an option".[21]

Reform of the Economic and Social Council

Governance of the multilateral system has historically been complex and fragmented. This has limited the capacity of ECOSOC to influence international policies in trade, finance and investment. Reform proposals aim to enhance the relevance and contribution of the council. A major reform was approved by the 2005 World Summit on the basis of proposals submitted by secretary-general Kofi Annan.[22] The Summit aimed to establish ECOSOC as a quality platform for high-level engagement among member states and with international financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society on global trends, policies and action. It was decided to hold biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forums at the national-leadership level by transforming the high-level segment of the Council to review trends in international development cooperation and promote greater coherence in development activities. At the Summit it was also decided to hold annual ministerial-level substantive reviews to assess progress in achieving internationally agreed development goals (particularly the Millennium Development Goals). These "Annual Ministerial Reviews" will be replaced by the High-Level Political Forum from 2016 onwards after the new post-MDG/post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are agreed.[23]

Subsequent proposals by the High-Level Panel Report on System-Wide Coherence in November 2006 aimed to establish a forum within the ECOSOC as a counter-model to the exclusive clubs of the G8 and G20. The Forum was to comprise 27 heads of states (L27, corresponding to half of ECOSOC's membership) to meet annually and provide international leadership in the development area. This proposal, however, was not approved by the General Assembly.[24]

Chamber design

The Economic and Social Council Chamber in the United Nations Conference Building was a gift from Sweden. It was conceived by Swedish architect Sven Markelius, one of the 11 architects in the international team that designed the UN headquarters. Wood from Swedish pine trees was used in the delegates' area for the railings and doors.[citation needed]

The pipes and ducts in the ceiling above the public gallery were deliberately left exposed; the architect believed that anything useful could be left uncovered. The "unfinished" ceiling is a symbolic reminder that the economic and social work of the United Nations is never finished; there will always be something more which can be done to improve living conditions for the world's people.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Spain was elected to finish the term of Turkey on 14 June 2019, commencing 1 January 2020
  1. ^ "Background Information". UN Economic and Social Council.
  2. ^ Basu, Rumki (2019). The United Nations. Sterling. pp. pp, page=83. ISBN 978-81-207-2775-5.
  3. ^ "High-Level Political Forum 2020 (HLPF 2020) .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform". sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  4. ^ Mu Xuequan (27 July 2018). "UN ECOSOC Elects New President". Xinhuanet. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  5. ^ "United Nations Official Document, Rule 20.2". www.un.org. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  6. ^ "ECOSOC President 2020 His Excellency Munir Akram | UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC and SOCIAL COUNCIL". www.un.org. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  7. ^ "President of ECOSOC". United Nations Economic and Social Council. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Members". UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC and SOCIAL COUNCIL. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  9. ^ "General Assembly Elects 19 Economic and Social Council Members to Terms Beginning 1 January 2020, Adopts Resolution Commemorating Signing of United Nations Charter". United Nations Meetings Coverage & Press Releases. United Nations. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Turkish diplomat elected President of historic 75th UN General Assembly". UN News. New York. 17 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  11. ^ a b ECOSOC observers, Part V Archived 22 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Subsidiary Bodies of ECOSOC". United Nations Economic and Social Council. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Manhire, Vanessa, ed. (2019). "United Nations Handbook 2019–20". United Nations Handbook : An Annual Guide for Those Working with and within the United Nations (57th ed.). Wellington: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand: 144–198. ISSN 0110-1951.
  14. ^ "UN Creates New Human Rights Body". BBC. London. 15 March 2006. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  15. ^ "United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)". UIA Open Yearbook. Union of International Associations. n.d. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  16. ^ "United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)". UIA Open Yearbook. Union of International Associations. n.d. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  17. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 67 Resolution 290. Format and Organizational Aspects of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development A/RES/67/290 9 July 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  18. ^ Cohn, Theodore H. (2016-05-05). Global Political Economy: Theory and Practice. Routledge. ISBN 9781317334828.
  19. ^ "UN Specialized Agencies". Globalization 101. The Levin Institute. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Others". United Nations. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  21. ^ "The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation'". Thaindian News. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  22. ^ Ian Williams, "Annan has paid his dues". The Guardian, 19 September 2005
  23. ^ "Session 18: Reviewing and monitoring progress: What have we learned and how can it advance implementation? .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform". sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  24. ^ "Turkmenistan Elected to ECOSOC for 2019-2021 - The Gazette of Central Asia". gca.satrapia.com. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  25. ^ UN website.